Time has come for Nepali entrepreneurs to realise the oppurtunities in e-commerce to have optimal business advantage.
--BY SAMRAT PRADHAN
When the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba took over the Pakistan-based retail portal Daraz, its intention to penetrate the growing South Asian e-commerce market was evident.
The takeover confirms the huge business potential that the Asia-Pacific (APAC) e-commerce market has in-store for countries like India, China, Vietnam and Singapore where significant population is engaged in online shopping. Even though there is no proper research of the Nepali e-commerce market, it is well known fact that only a fraction of Nepali consumer is using online medium for shopping.
The Localized Hurdles
Lack of internet connectivity, non-existence of hassle free and secured online payment solution, absence of professional delivery system, very low digital IQ among citizens and many reasons can be blamed for poor growth of online buying trends among the Nepali consumers. However, one has to realize that the successful e-commerce players like Amazon, Flipkart and Alibaba have kept themselves pushing under the abovementioned conditions flourishing with the adaption of the modern technology among the targeted masses.
The Increasing Potential
The latest MIS Report published by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) shows that around 61 percent of the country’s total population have access to internet/data services as of mid-July, 2017. Entrepreneurs have to know the fact that over 6,851 new users are connected to the internet every day in Nepal, according to the same report. What could be a better option than a well-built, tuned and social media integrated e-commerce platform for reaching to that spectrum of the users.
Emerging technologies like biometrics, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Business Intelligence (BI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more will help e-commerce to keep growing and thriving in the foreseeable future. In the recent years, Asia has emerged as forefront of the global digitalisation trend, with rapid growth of digital business, cross-border e-commerce and innovation giving Nepali entrepreneurs a space to create their own success stories.
The eCom Benefits
It is a known fact that foot traffic is declining in brick-and-mortar locations and so many large retailers like Walmart are focusing on creating new success stories by going online. An e-commerce business has several benefits over the traditional brick-and-mortar business approach. Here are a few benefits e-commerce offer:
1. Selling products to a wider audience (even globally) rather than just the customers physically visiting your store
2. With no store opening and closing time, customers get to enjoy shopping at their convenience, 24 X 7
3. Complete information communication through the details section and product reviews to motivate the product purchase
4. Scalable without the dependency of store space or the hassles of relocating to grow
5. Buyer’s behavior data at disposal to strengthen the business strategy
6. Use of digital marketing, social media and Search Engine Optimisation(SEO) greatly reduce advertising and marketing costs
7. Boost brand awareness and inform the audience about latest deals and offer.
The Steps We Need to Take
There are several things we need to figure out to make the digital journey smooth. First is to create your online platform. There are e-commerce building platforms that give entrepreneurs easy access to instantaneous digital transformation, information communication, logistics process and online networking for sustainable e-commerce business without over dependency on the ‘tech guy.’ Entrepreneurs no longer have to micromanage every part of the e-commerce platform going through tiresome and tedious processes or need to allocate the huge startup budget associated with the digital business in the past.
Payment processing is the next step and one of the biggest hurdles for the budding e-commerce industry worldwide. Many attempts by the globally renowned payment gateway have proven to be either too difficult or too costly in processing orders from markets across the world. Nepali entrepreneurs can now rejoice knowing that a lot of development and testing is happening here for a hassle free yet secured online payment gateway. Solutions such as e-wallets, online banking, integrated payment systems and gift cards along with momentum for blockchain technology are trying their best to eliminate the payment limitations and at the same time being rapidly adopted by end consumers.
Figuring out your logistics and delivery modules is equally important. After all, a questions lurks why should your customers need to go through frustrating and long wait for delivery after the purchase.So, building a strong logistic strategy centric to the nature of your products including a hassle-free return policy can be the competitive advantage of your online store over the competitors.
There is no doubt that the e-commerce platform gives your business a must needed digital transformation. But you should analyse your business and take consideration of your priorities and long-term plans for the future before diving headfirst into the ecommerce solution. A detailed understanding of your business needs can help you to successfully implement your digital transformation goals within a reasonable timeframe and budget.
The author is Marketing Strategist at Braindigit IT Solution (P) Ltd.